Health checking is important for all dogs but it’s vital for the escapees of puppy farms. Their early days contained little to no healthcare and it is usually adulthood to senior years when this starts to show in the physical body. To carry out an effective health check — whilst also keeping your dog relaxed – might take regular practice over a lot of sessions. But keep gently progressing and marking your dog’s progress and you simply can’t fail. It’s a good idea to start at the eyes and work to your dog’s tail, gently and methodically.
Eye health includes checking for discharge and cloudiness. Cataracts may develop as the dog gets older and she might not have a great sight, to begin with, if she spent her first few years in a dark puppy farm. Cataracts look pretty distinctive. They appear cloudy and milky but often they develop on older dogs as they enter their senior years. Long-haired dogs might get lumps of eye discharge stuck in the hair under their eyes. Warm water on cotton wool balls will soften this discharge and allow you to wipe it away.
Check ears for small discharge and watch your dog for any excessive scratching which can indicate mites or infection.
Gently lift your dog’s lips and check the teeth on both sides. Then when she’s ready to accept it, open her mouth to look inside. Small dogs are more prone to tartar build-up, wobbly teeth, and tooth infections. A build-up of bacteria in the mouth can spread and cause infections elsewhere in the body. Some dogs may require their teeth to be professionally cleaned under a general anesthetic. Sometimes rescues do this before rehoming puppy farm dogs.
Run your hands over her checking for any lumps. In female dogs remember to feel along the mammary glands to check for any abnormal swellings, which can be a sign of mammary cancer.
Also, look for any scabs, irritations, or areas of hair loss. Hotspots are areas of the skin that become especially sore and dogs often chew or excessively lick them. Hotspots may be the sign of an allergy to food and natural immune response to a problem that hasn’t really been dealt with. The first step with a hotspot is the veterinarian. If you can find a holistic vet that’s great as they tend to explore the underlying reason for the immune response, whereas others may focus on treating the symptoms which could stop the scratching but won’t deal with the underlying issue.
Check your dog’s nails, because if they get too long it can affect your dog’s posture. Clipping nails regularly and brushing teeth daily can become part of your dog’s normal care routine, particularly if you coach carefully so she’s relaxed whilst you do it. Again, simply break down the end process into smaller steps and mark all relaxed behavior whilst simultaneously batting that fear beast away!